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Zimbabwe Ilmenite location help

Posted by Rolf Luetcke  
Rolf Luetcke January 11, 2017 12:49PM

I have the attached specimen I purchased many years ago and the only thing on the label was "Ilmenite-S. Rhodesia". From this one can see it was from quite a while ago.
I was looking at anything about Zimbabwe ilmenite photos and found only one photo. Not much help there with this piece since it is definitely not stream worn.
If anyone has an idea where it may have come from in Zimbabwe it would be great.
Bruce Cairncross January 11, 2017 02:55PM
Hi Rolf,

Are you sure your specimen is ilmenite? From your photo (and its not always good to ID specimens from a photo, I know), it looks like coarse grained, "sugary" chromite that is fairly common from the Zimbabwe chrome mines.

Rolf Luetcke January 11, 2017 03:37PM
I thank you for the information. I have no information on this piece so any help is nice. It is one of those "cheap" pieces picked up at the Tucson show years ago. Many of the early labeled things one can't trust. I went by what the label said in this case.
I will check out the chromite you mentioned. I have discovered that old labels are often totally wrong. Seems this is another case.
Reiner Mielke January 11, 2017 04:08PM
Is it magnetic? Ilmenite is weakly magnetic chromite is not magnetic.
Erik Vercammen January 11, 2017 05:37PM
The streak of chromite should be brown, that of ilemnite black.
Reiner Mielke January 11, 2017 07:46PM
The streak of ilmenite can also be reddish-brown so the test is only positive for ilmenite. In otherwords if it is brown it could be either, if black it can only be ilmenite.
Rolf Luetcke January 12, 2017 12:31AM
It is not magnetic at all, had a loose xl and it had no magnetism.
I am pretty sure Bruce was right with the id early on.
That is the big trouble with all those reference pieces picked up over the years for a few bucks each, much of the labeling can't be trusted on the older pieces, esp. from peoples collections.
I assume the location is accurate, just the identification to species was wrong.
I just didn't know material from that area at all and you have helped a lot.
Thank you.
Bruce Cairncross January 12, 2017 08:49AM

Here's a photo of chromite (looking very much like your specimen) associated with green augite and white anorthosite. This 6 cm specimen is from one of the mines in South Africa's Bushveld Complex.

Harald Schillhammer January 12, 2017 10:42AM
Not an expert but speaking from personal experience with similar looking stuff - it should also be tested for geikielite or spinel.
Reiner Mielke January 12, 2017 11:28AM
Geikielite has a distict/good cleavage, chromite has none. Spinel has a white streak, chromite brown.
Rolf Luetcke January 12, 2017 01:11PM
Thank you for adding the photo. Yes, it does look a lot like the material. Shame people didn't put things on labels when they first got the material, would make it a lot easier but I realize it was not habit to do that in the past. Mindat has made it a nice priority to list all the information.
Reiner, Harald,
Thanks for the added information. The pieces as Reiner said, have no good cleavage and will check the streak later today. Fortunately a few of the pieces are loose so easy to check magnetism and streak.
Rolf Luetcke January 12, 2017 06:54PM
Checked the streak and it is brown. I think that points to the chromite as much as anything else.
Thank You all
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